Each October, thousands of pro, college and high school football players add pink to
their uniforms in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The members of the
Grapevine Mustangs squad got a firsthand account of the struggles of those with cancer
from former WFAA-TV anchor/reporter Janet St. James.
The Mustangs have a team motto of TPW, which stands for Tough People Win. St. James
exemplifies that attitude. “It has taken a lot of mental toughness, just like your coaches
tell you. I am strong and I am fierce. Those are the words I live by,” St. James told the
St. James was diagnosed with breast cancer on April 1st of this year, shortly after leaving
the TV news business to go to work for HCA North Texas as VP of Strategic
Communication. Mustangs Head Coach Randy Jackson invited St. James to speak to his
team so they would know that there are real cancer victims behind the pink mouth
guards, shoelaces and towels the team adds to its uniform during October.
“When you wear pink, think of the women and men like me and their families who are
going through this,” St. James told the players.
St. James talked about her bilateral mastectomy and months of chemo and radiation
therapy. She still faces several surgeries. She said cancer is very hard on families.
“Cancer is tough for parents to talk about with kids, but it has to be done,” said St.
The visit made an impact on the players. Sr. wide receiver Brandon Coffin appreciated
the message from St. James. “To tell us what she went through was inspiring. She is a
tough woman. It was great.”
Jr. offensive lineman Robert Ryan said, “It was inspiring how she stayed positive during
her fight. My mom had breast cancer, so this is very real. She’s been cancer-free for four
years. It reminded me what this is all about.”
Above: St. James presents pink mouth guards to Sophomore QB Cole Stephenson (left) and Senior Defensive Lineman Alex Cantu (right).